Happiness is Relative
A common goal in everyone’s life is to be happy. The things that make people happy are as unique as fingerprints; they are different based on each individual’s personality, interests, and lifestyle. Happiness for a wealthy businessman might be purchasing a brand new BMW, yet happiness for a poor immigrant could be something as small as seeing his child smile on his first day of school. A person’s happiness is relative to whom and what they compare themselves. Life is truly what one makes it, and a person’s outlook makes all the difference.
All over the world in countries such as Ethiopia and Darfur, people of all ages go hungry. The same people have no money, no cars, not even a home in which to sleep at night. Yet these people are not chronically depressed or unhappy; they are used to this lifestyle. Just like anyone else, these citizens of third-world countries have good times and bad. The difference is what makes the good times good, and the bad times bad. A starving Ethiopian child might be ebullient over a solid meal given by humanitarian aid workers, or a struggling mother might thank God that she found a safe place for her and her children to sleep that night. These two examples show that a mother and starving child’s happiness is relative to what they are used to in life. The same principle applies to financially privileged people, just on a completely different scale.
Happiness for the son of a prominent lawyer could be his father buying him a new Ipod for getting good grades, and unhappiness when this device breaks a week later and he feels inadequate next to all his friends who have one. Just like the previously mentioned examples, this boy’s happiness is relative to what he is used to possessing, and to what he compares himself. If you have more than those with whom you compare yourself, then you will have a tendency to be happy. If you have less, you will have a tendency to be unhappy. Despite having a lavish life of...